Criminalizing Politics is a Dangerous Idea

by Ryan on April 21, 2009

in Politics,Tyranny,War on Terror

We are traveling down a very dangerous road.  President Obama has indicated that actions taken during a time of grave crisis in our nation’s history are up for selective legal prosecution.  The dangerous precedent would be this — criminalizing the decisions of one administration once another party assumes control. 

Think of our history to this point:  Jefferson did not prosecute Federalists for the Alien and Sedition Acts;  Union-Democrat Andrew Johnson did not specifically prosecute or target Lincoln Adminsitration officials who ran roughshod over the Constitution during the Civil War;  no Republican prosecuted those involved FDR’s filling of US concentration camps during WWII (though Reagan apologized for FDR back in the 1980s);  Nixon did not prosecute LBJ’s Administration on Vietnam.  Those are just a few examples of not second guessing your predecessor’s behavior when they faced grave periods in our history, whether the actions were appropriate or not.

Yesterday, our young president indicated that he would not be prosecuting those in the clandestine services who engaged in what this administration considers torture during the critical period between 9/11 and early 2003.  No pat on the back — that position goes without saying.

However, today Obama decided that targeting those officials who ordered the interrogation or formed the policy would be at risk for criminal prosecution, depending on the Attorney General’s discretion.  One may not like Obama, or his policies, or his direction, but at some point an Obama critic like myself must use the proper language — this is not just disagreeable, this is dangerous.

Why?  Because criminalizing politics as such will inevitably lead to paralysis in our intelligence services for fear of prosecution, it weakens our leader’s ability to make decisive decisions at the right time for fear of reprisals and allegations, and worst of all the potential political retribution after each subsequent election would poison US politics inevitably to the point of open violence between the parties sometime down the road, endangering our Republic’s stability.  That’s why Obama’s 43 predecessors didn’t do it.

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